Block Island to Jamestown: Man plans 19-mile swim to lift cash for Clear Ocean Entry

JAMESTOWN, RI (WPRI) – An endurance swimmer will soon attempt to be the first person to swim 30 miles non-stop from Block Island to Jamestown.

Ben Tuff has been training Saturday swimming every day for a year to raise funds and awareness for the nonprofit environment Access to the clean ocean.

In August 2019, he raised more than $ 54,000 for the cause while swimming 23 miles non-stop around Conanicut Island.

“It gives something back to the environment and everything that has given me,” said Tuff.

Similarly, local Olympian Elizabeth Beisel plans to swim to Block Island to raise money for cancer research

Tuff said he swim because he saw firsthand the beauty and fragility of the ocean he loves.

“All my summers growing up in Jamestown has been this beautiful setting, this water and the clarity of the water and the cleanliness of the water,” he recalls. “When I heard about Clean Ocean Access, I said, ‘I have to do something for this group’ and at the same time I said, ‘I have to do something crazy and something that others haven’t done.'”

He hopes this swim will inspire people to donate to help keep Rhode Island’s waters clean and accessible.

“Aside from the things you can’t control like weather, waves, sharks, jellyfish, you can control up to a point, and through training and spending time, you can accomplish any goal,” added Tuff.

Tuff’s dedication to marine conservation and his passion for incredible achievement caught the attention of Australian tech company Ocean Guardian, maker of the world’s only proven shark deterrent that he will wear throughout his swim.

“It makes muscle spasms and they don’t like it,” Tuff explained.

Atlantic Shark Institute executive director Jon Dodd said nine acoustic receivers placed around Block Island detected four great white sharks at the start of this year’s research, but only 5% of the great white sharks were tagged.

4 great white sharks spotted around Block Island

Tuff said he will be stung by schools of jellyfish based on previous endurance swimming.

However, he will not swim in the sea alone. His friend will paddle the route next to him with support ships nearby.

Tuff plans to start swimming early Saturday morning and hopefully finish by the afternoon. There are access points where anyone can stop to celebrate their progress before meeting them at the finish line.

  • Point Judith: First observation point
    • Ben won’t be seen until 10am at the earliest, but plan to be there around 9am
  • Newton Avenue: Second observation point
    • Ben won’t be seen until noon at the earliest
  • Pier: Third lookout point
    • Ben can be seen at 12:30 p.m. at the earliest
  • Beaver tail: target point
    • Ben won’t be ready to swim until 1:45 p.m. at the earliest
  • Finish Line Party: Memorial Square